Paws Against Poaching

Wildlife Conservation

At Siena House, we’re proud to contribute to the fight against horn poaching in Africa. Under the expert guidance of Daryll Pleasants from ‘Animals Saving Animals,’ we trained two exceptional puppies, Vaala and Primaa. These dogs are now on the ground, working tirelessly to protect wildlife and assist rangers.

Anti-Poaching Dogs for Africa

Amanda has been interested in training working dogs for many years. After a visit from Daryll Pleasants of ‘Animals Saving Animals,’ the British anti-poaching dog charity, we realized that we could contribute directly to combating horn poaching.

Darryl Pleasants with a dog

With some modifications to the training Amanda was already involved in, coupled with the excellent bloodlines of our own dogs and guidance from Daryll, we raised two puppies, Vaala and Primaa. These puppies were trained and then shipped to Africa.

Two dogs laying on the grass
Vaala (right) and her Father, Gladio, at the house

Their primary purpose is to prevent horn poaching, but their work on the reserve benefits all species, as well as the rangers who perform a very dangerous job. The dogs track at night, detecting and hunting down poachers while working loose and covering many kilometers. No one should be in the reserve at night, and those who are, are apprehended. The dogs’ apprehension skills are well-known and serve as a strong deterrent to poachers, who, despite the high value of the horns at point of sale, receive relatively small amounts of money for the risks they take.

A significant part of the dogs’ job is seeking out caches of guns and ammunition typically brought into the reserves ahead of a kill. Discovering and confiscating arms, as well as other poaching equipment like traps, adds to the great utility of the dogs.

Darryl’s dogs in Kenya, with their proud handlers.
Darryl’s dogs in Kenya, with their proud handlers.

In addition to protecting the rangers and hunting for poachers and their weapons, the dogs also track the very animals they protect, helping the reserves better monitor their wildlife. The position of our house within a hunting reserve and the long dry Tuscan summers made it an ideal place for training.

Screenshot announcing the arrival of Vaala in Zimbabwe

The dogs require a good nose, a taste for a fight, courage, determination, soundness under fire, and the ability to defend their handler. They are tremendous assets to the reserves.

Amanda & Gladio at Hatfield House playing rangers in 2017
Amanda & Gladio at Hatfield House playing rangers in 2017

We stay in touch with Vaala’s new owners, the Environmental Stewardship Trust, who send us updates. Unfortunately, we lost touch with Primaa after her shipment from Rome (thanks to Boccanera Perazzoli) and have no ongoing news about her. We worked very hard to train her in day and night searches, munitions scenting and indication, bite development, and apprehension. We are confident that she is an asset and hope she is well.

Screenshot of an announcement about the arrival of two dogs in Limpopo-Limpadi.
Amanda and Tom acting as Rhino Rangers at the A.S.A. Hatfield House demo in 2017
Amanda and Tom acting as Rhino Rangers at the A.S.A. Hatfield House demo in 2017
The choosing of Vaala ‘The Chosen one’ in Autumn 2016
The choosing of Vaala ‘The Chosen one’ in Autumn 2016